I have a little notebook in the console of the Scout where I record the mileage every time I put gas in the tank. I started doing this back in 2014 when I wanted to figure out the MPG, and it’s been super valuable to sort out all kinds of other things beyond quantifying how thirsty Peer Pressure is. I took her out today for a quick run to the grocery store before the snow flies this coming week. When I came back inside I brought the book in and plugged the numbers into an Excel spreadsheet. The graph it produced was a little surprising.
|Total Yearly Miles||Miles Minus Nats|
The dip during 2017 makes sense, as I was out of commission from September of that year until about March of 2018 with chemo, surgery, and recovery. I took her 275 miles to the Eastern Shore and back for a camping trip in 2018. Later that year we drove out to Nationals, which accounted for roughly 1,000 miles, and in 2019 we went back. In 2020 I was home every day and thus drove the Scout everywhere. I think I put about 20 miles on the Honda last year. I wonder why I only drove the truck 243 miles in 2016?
I also updated the spreadsheet where I capture costs—for everything like parts, repairs, and incidentals minus gas, and the average cost per year is at $436. I do actually capture gas costs in the mileage book, and maybe if I’m motivated this week I’ll go back out, get the book, and plug that into the spreadsheet.
Meanwhile, there’s a local guy with two trucks on Craigslist, one whole package and one for parts. I inquired about the fender flares on the parts truck but he said he was keeping those. I told him I’d be interested in coming out to see what’s left after the snow melts—I’m still interested in a spare set of locking hubs to put on the shelf, as well as a heater core I can refurbish on the workbench while the snow flies outside.
Driving through the County after a hike with the family yesterday, I spied these two beauties parked in the back of a lot about twenty minutes from the house. Perhaps I’ll stop by in the summertime when I’m driving Peer Pressure and see if the owner is home.
So I dunked the spare carb I found in the garage last week into a tub of Simple Brown (thus named because it previously was used to clean one of the Thermoquads) and let it soak overnight. I was curious to see what it was because A. I can barely remember where it came from, and B. I wondered if it might be a simpler 4-barrel replacement for the Thermoquad I’m currently running. I scrubbed it off with a toothbrush this afternoon to reveal the stamping number, which identified it as a Holley 2100C for a ’73-’75 IH 304/345 gas motor. Doing a little digging online and in my brain, I remember that these were not highly regarded carbs, and the garb guru I remember from the Chewbacca era describes it as a smogged carb with limited parts availability, which is a double-bummer. So I’ll probably fool around with it for a while and see what makes it tick, and then toss it in with the other junk parts. The next one to identify is the one on the spare 345 out in the garage—actually, maybe I’ll swap these two out so that I can bring that one in here and clean it up.
I’ve had a spare 345 engine sitting in the garage since 2013 that I got from Brian when he moved from his townhome. It’s been sitting on a wooden cradle since then, quietly waiting for me to do something with it. I’ve moved it here and there as I’ve rearranged things, but I haven’t really done much thinking about it until this fall. I’ve been watching a lot of revival videos on YouTube—mechanics find a car out in the woods or in a field and see if they can get it to turn over and run with a limited set of tools. I’m weird but it’s fascinating. I’ve learned a lot, and there’s something that comes up over and over again, and it usually has to do with how the engine was left: if it was running, even poorly, but with proper lubrication, there’s a good chance they’ll get it running again.
I don’t know much about this engine other than what Brian had heard from the guy he bought it from: it was low mileage and running smoothly when it came out, and I know Brian had put some oil in it to protect it from the elements—he’d been storing it in a shed behind his house. But it finally dawned on me that I needed to do some long-term preventative storage of my own.
So today I picked up some Marvel Mystery Oil, set up a space heater, and started pulling the plugs, starting with the driver’s side rear. The first plug (#8) I pulled was the worst. There was some rust around the inside collar, which got me scared the whole thing was locked up tight, but as I made my way through the others, they all looked clean. Everything was easy to pull out so the whole job was done in about 15 minutes. I used about half the bottle of MMO across the whole engine, and hopefully that will help keep things as loose as possible. When that was done I went through the box of parts Brian left with me and screwed both valve covers down so they’re not sitting loose. I hadn’t realized this but both of them have filler holes.
There’s a lot that can be done with this engine while it sits, and I’d like to tear through it a bit more to see how things work. I also want to sandblast the valley pan and other accessories and get it cleaned up to be wrapped tight in plastic.
But first, I’m going to spring for a proper engine stand at Harbor Freight and reinforce the back corner floor of the garage. I’ve been thinking about how to maximize space in there, looking at maybe buying a prebuilt shed to store the lawnmower, hand tools and other garden supplies, but that’s cash I don’t have on hand right now, so I have to make the best of what’s there.
Today I spent a little time looking over the doors I bought last weekend. I stuffed them right inside the front door of the garage when I got home last weekend, so they were in the way of a lot of things. We had to remove the passenger door without the hinges due to clearance issues when I was in Flintstone, which meant the whole door had to come apart before we got it off the truck, and I brought it home partially disassembled. Knowing how I am with parts, I figured I’d better put it back together before I forgot where everything went.
After I’d put the steel panel, window crank and door handle back on, I moved some parts out of the makeshift shelving unit I built (don’t judge, the whole garage is cockeyed) and reorganized the Scout section. There’s just enough space under the tall shelf to stand them up on end without hinges, so I pulled the driver’s door apart, removed those hinges, and buttoned everything back up again.
Both doors are rusty in their own way. The glass on the passenger door is in better shape than the other, especially the wing window, where the rubber is intact and the hinge and spring assemblies are still intact. The driver’s door is in worse shape overall, probably because it was parked upslope in Dave’s backyard and thus exposed to more of the elements.
I also started looking into the T-handle for the rear lift gate; it’s got a lock that’s pretty well calcified into the housing. I shot it full of PBBlaster and let it sit over the weekend. The lock barrel removal requires having the original key, which is still sitting in the ignition of the truck out in Flintstone. You have to unlock the latch while pushing on a small pin inside the handle housing, which releases the whole thing from the handle. I’ve got Dad’s set of lockpicks from the repo days, and picking a 4-tumbler GM lock from the 1970’s shouldn’t be too hard—but doing that while pushing the pin is going to require two more hands. We’ll see…
Looking through 10+ years of jumbled parts, I found that I’d acquired a 2-barrel Holley carburetor at some point which fits the spare air cleaner sitting on the shelf (the diameter of the opening is too small to fit a Thermoquad). This is in addition to the Holley 2100 I’ve already got—but I haven’t been able to ID this one yet. I think I’ll get the Simple Brown out and soak it for a week to clean things up, and then disassemble it to take a closer look.
Parts are getting harder and harder to find on the ground these days. Where 10 years ago someone might post a grotty truck and some boxes of parts on Craigslist for $500, these days Facebook Marketplace is where the stuff is, and there are more ads on Craigslist for people wanting to buy parts than sell. And the online vendors are getting more and more money for used stuff: A set of used door hinges are $150, for example—something that might have been $10 apiece in the bottom of a cardboard box a decade ago.
I don’t post on FB but I’ve kept my zombie account there, and I check the listings weekly for anything nearby. This past Wednesday a very roached-out truck appeared in Flintstone MD, just beyond that narrow spot in western Maryland where the state is the width of a parking lot. I reached out to the seller to ask about the doors, each of which feature a decal advertising the local International dealer, and when he agreed to $30 for each of them, I started making plans to go get them. He couldn’t meet during the weekend so I took a day off from work to drive out there.
My recovery kit held all the normal stuff—sockets, wrenches, hammer, drill, etc., but I also threw in a propane torch for heating bolts, heating handwarmer packs, a mini camp stove and some tea in case I was really cold, some Clif bars, and several tarps. I wore two layers of pants and three layers up top, knowing Western Maryland is usually 10˚ colder than here.
The drive out there was excellent; I was facing away from the sun, the sky was clear and blue, and the truck ran like a top. I made it to the house by 11 and pulled up behind the barn. The seller was actually listing everything for his (grandfather?) and actually left after he’d led me to the house, so I was there with Dave, the owner of the house and the Scout.
He was happy to hang out and help me pull parts, so I masked up, we put a breaker bar on the door bolts, and actually had them both off in about a half an hour. Looking over the rest of the rig, there wasn’t much to be harvested; the engine (a 196 4-cylinder) was covered in scaly rust, and my attempt to pull the heater box was unsuccessful. I had also wanted the front hubs, and bought good-quality snap ring pliers to remove them, but he wanted to keep them on the truck. I did wind up pulling a hub from a spare Dana 27 axle laying in the yard for Brian, whose Scout this will fit. It came off the axle easily except for one Allen bolt, which we had to heat and then cool to break free.
Dave was a super-nice fellow; we kept conversation mainly on trucks and our collective shock at how easily things were coming apart. In the land of pro-Trump yard signs there was mercifully no talk of politics. Dave has two other Scouts, a ’63 he uses for plowing, which looks well-loved, and a ’61 that he pulled apart to keep the ’63 going. They both have a lot of character to be sure. Our conversation drifted a little as we were wrapping up and he shared with me that his wife had passed several years ago and that he was working on cleaning the place up; it was obvious he was happy to have someone there to talk to, so we chatted for awhile about cancer and his motorcycles.
The only other thing I grabbed before leaving was the T-handle from the rear lift gate. We tried to get the mechanism out but it was rusted inside pretty well, so I gave up on that when I saw that it had begun snowing. After getting everything into the Scout I said my goodbyes and headed East. Traffic was light and I made it back home by 4:30 as the sun was just dipping behind the trees, which was fine by me.
So I’ve got two extra doors—this in addition to the two in the garage—but there are a wealth of good parts on each: the hinges are in excellent shape, the glass is good, the interior panels, armrests, handles and cranks are good, and the interior scissors both work. Plus, there’s an intact chrome strip on each one. I wasn’t able to budge the short chrome pieces on the front and rear fenders, but these pieces look real nice and should clean up well.
I’m kicking myself for not having pulled more while I was there (hindsight always being acute) but I enjoyed my day and I’m happy with what I was able to recover. If he’s still got it in the spring, I may head back out there for some smaller stuff—the tailgate latch assembly, the dome light, the hubs, maybe the steering wheel assembly, the gas evap elements, and some other hard-to-find parts.
I had a couple of days over the holiday weekend to do not much of anything and decided to get out of the house and get my hands dirty. The first thing I wanted to tackle was the inner fender and windshield frame I’d sanded a couple of weeks ago, which were sitting in my not-so-dry garage waiting to be sealed up. I wire-brushed the surface rust off of the frame and covered the bare metal with Eastwood rust encapsulator.
Then I hit the inner fender with the brush and cleaned up some more of the bad rust. It too got sealed, and overall it doesn’t look too bad. When it was dry I hauled it back up into the attic to stay out of the way.
Then I pulled my old roof racks down from the rafters and disassembled both completely. One bar was bent from a mishap on the old Jeep so I straightened that out, and looked over the steel mounting clips. All four were covered in equal amounts of Siam Yellow, Chewbacca’s old color, and surface rust, so I wire-wheeled and hit them with some primer. After a trip to Lowe’s for new hardware, I painted the clips black and reassembled both bars. I’d forgotten that Chewbacca’s old top did not have a factory rack. These aftermarket bars are just low enough that they won’t clear the top of the OEM rack so I scooted them forward and backward to clear everything and tightened them all down.
Looking through the Interwebs for local spare parts, I came across an ad for a guy building and selling bumpers up in Pennsylvania. He calls the outfit Affordable Offroad and he has a prerunner-style front bumper for $280 (additional options push the cost up to $320). Overall it doesn’t look too bad, and would be a good-looking upgrade to the front of Peer Pressure, which is a little bland.
The other thing I’m looking at is 16″ replacement wheels that are an inch wider in diameter than the current wheels—where the selection of narrower tires is wider. Summit carries a Coker 5×5.5 16″ steel rim, the look of which I like a lot, for a little over $100/each. There’s no reason to jump on this now, but it’s food for thought in the next five years.
File this under bummer: Looks like Geoff, the guy I bought my blue traveltop from, is selling his Scout via Facebook Marketplace. His rig looks cool but the pictures he’s posted show a lot more rust in the body than I remember seeing in 2013. He made the questionable decision to cover the front body panels in some kind of bedliner years ago, and somewhere in the last five years swapped an LS under the hood. Overall it’s a nice rig with a lot of good parts, and someone will be lucky to own it.
As mentioned elsewhere, Finn and I put about 70 miles on the Scout this weekend looking for a Christmas bike. Pulling in to the first bike store we were met by the saleslady who asked me if I’d like to trade the Scout for a bike before I could even say hello. Laughing, I told her I was going to have to turn her offer down. At the third bike store, the salesman told us he loved the way it looks and asked how well it ran.
I told him the truth; she’s running great and seems to bring good vibes wherever she goes.
This nice-looking Traveler showed up on Craigslist and FB Marketplace for around $17K, which is a pretty good price for what they’re offering. What caught my eye, beyond the obvious good looks and desirable extra 18″ of wheelbase (and thus cargo space) was the location of the first staging shot:
That’s the former location of East Coast Scouts, my local IH mechanic in the early days when I had Chewbacca. He closed up shop in the early 2000’s when it got to be too much to stay on top of; he’s back in the area after moving to PA for a while and I traded emails with him last year.